Friday, March 15, 2013

Welcome! (spring is on its way)

Spring is on its way! That's what I heard today from some friends of mine. They flew in last night and when I heard them this afternoon, their chattering was music to my ears and brought tears to my eyes. Who are these friends of whom I speak? The red-winged blackbirds of course! They are always the first travelers to return at this time of year in the region where I live. There have been other signs. The amount of daylight is increasing by about three minutes per day. Three weeks ago the cardinals started singing their territorial songs. The song sparrows usually start singing around the same time, but with my broken leg I haven't been getting outside in the morning, which is when they usually sing at this time of year. So, I haven't heard them yet. Yesterday the robins started separating from their winter flocks and staking out their territories. But it's the return of the red-wings that really marks the turning point for me. In a week or two my other bird friends will start returning. Slowly at first, but in a month there will be many new species arriving every day. I look forward to greeting all of them! I love and embrace the blessings of all of our seasons, but I have to admit that April/May is my favorite time of the year.

Welcome back red-wings!

I'm also going to miss the winter. This year, because of my leg, I missed a lot of the most spectacular winter days because many of them occurred during the first month after my injury. At that time I wasn't very mobile and I wasn't able to spend much time outdoors, except on the sunnier, calmer days. Even then the snow was too deep for me to hobble on crutches around the land where I live.

There have been other milestones in the last couple of weeks. I have really been appreciating those days when I could sit outside and be with the land. In the last few weeks I have been able to get out more as my leg gets stronger and the snow isn't as deep. I've gone from a couple of times per week to almost every day. Sitting out there I am totally in awe and so grateful for my life and the blessings provided by our Earth Mother. A bit more than a week ago I was finally feeling strong enough to hobble out to my prayer area, stomp a trail around the circle on one foot, and dig out the offering stones in the four directions from under a bit more than a foot of snow. It was hard work in my condition but finally I was able to offer prayers and tobacco at my prayer area in the flesh. Then on Saturday I took my first walk through the back field with my dogs. I was totally elated! Finally, on Sunday I made it all the way to my prayer area in the woods. The most difficult part of the journey was hopping over the small creek in my back field. First I made offerings to Grandmother, thanking her for her sacred waters. This is one of her source waters where she flows out of the Earth. Her name is Necheng qua kekong. This is a poor representation from an old version of the Mississauga dialect of the Anishinaabe language that was recorded a couple of hundred years ago by someone who didn't understand the language. The Mississaugas were the people who lived in this area at that time. I don't know what it means, but I'm sure it's much more suitable than the "Don River". I have asked a couple of friends who are members of the Anishinaabe community if they know anyone who might be able to translate it, but so far no one has been able to.

Grandmother emerging from the Earth.

Today I was able to make it out to my prayer area in the woods for the second time. But I also managed to go further and visit the old Grandmother White Pine. This is probably my favorite sitting spot in the woods. I was so grateful to finally be able to sit there with her. It brought tears to my eyes. It's been seven weeks since I've been able to visit her. Usually when I'm not away I sit there for a bit every day. While I sat there quietly, listening to the voices of the birds and the wind, I felt so much gratitude to the Medicine and the plant people for my healing. My leg is coming along amazingly well. I will be getting an x-ray on Wednesday to make sure everything looks as good as it feels, and I should be able to start carrying some weight with my leg by the end of the week. This is half the amount of time of the original prognosis! I'll be providing more details on that next week in the next installment of my series of posts on Healing Bone Fractures. One of the reasons it has been important to me that my leg heal quickly is so that I can fulfill my manda and travel to Mexico and Lake Superior for three weeks from late April to mid May. I booked my flight yesterday! In the mean time, the spring equinox is on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to offering ceremony to honor the passing winter and officially welcome spring!

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